alex’s style is intelligent, intentional and often performative. there are hidden meanings behind the clothes that are rooted in identity politics, ancestral heritage and other complex themes he makes music about.
what meaning do clothes have for you?
clothing is one of the most immediate and apparent ways to communicate about oneself to the world. for me, clothing is not to be confused with style but instead recognized as one of the many facets through which style is expressed. clothes have the power to communicate one’s sincere style as well as the power to conceal someone behind fads and traditions.
you are working on a project called cienfuegos. can you tell us about it?
cienfuegos is an experimental/industrial music project of mine. as a whole it's a somewhat latinocentric meditation on our inevitable assimilation into modern industrial society, and the humanity we lose at the cost of this assimilation. it’s inspired a lot by latin american rhythms, the imagery and political rhetoric of caribbean, and south american political movements of the last 100 years. on a personal level, it’s my struggle to find an identity without letting go of a cultural identity.
what is the meaning of cienfuegos?
literally, it translates to “100 fires.” it’s a city in central cuba (where a lot of my family is from) and also the last name of one of the pillars of the 26 of july movement in cuba (camilo cienfuegos). it’s a loaded name that evokes a lot of images and feelings.
is there a relationship between the music you make and the clothes you wear?
i feel the closest connection between the two happens when i perform. lately i’ve been wearing suits as a means of protest and empowerment. there are many artists in this realm of music who, as white men, evoke fascist imagery and are perpetuating stereotypical standards of beauty through fashion. i try to think of the fact that i’m an immigrant’s son, the fact that my ancestors comprised mainly of socialist-minded sugar cane farmers and also the fact that technically i shouldn’t be here, as a means to strike people heavily in a performance. when a gremlin like myself is running around the crowd yelling at people in spanish wearing a well-tailored suit, people tend to pay attention.
follow alex @quepena305